14 Mar 2016

PM to meet with US Intelligence director

8:58 pm on 14 March 2016

Prime Minister John Key and Director of United States National Intelligence James Clapper will likely discuss New Zealand's intelligence agencies tonight.

John Key during bridge run over the GCSB.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

General Clapper was last in New Zealand in 2011.

The review found that laws governing the agencies were clunky, inconsistent and prevented them from doing their jobs.

Director of United States National Intelligence James Clapper

Director of United States National Intelligence James Clapper Photo: AFP

Mr Key said General Clapper was in New Zealand on his way to a Five Eyes meeting in Australia.

"I think he's publicly said he's retiring before President Obama effectively steps down in early 2017, so I don't know if he'll be back in New Zealand again, but he's certainly back here again on his way to Australia."

Last week the review of New Zealand's Intelligence and Security agencies was released.

Mr Key said he would likely discuss that with General Clapper when they met today.

"Oh yeah, I would have thought so.

"I've met General Clapper on a number of occasions, he's obviously got great insights into intelligence and what's happening around the world.

"But I'll certainly be mentioning to him, I'm sure he'll be aware but if he isn't aware we've been going through a review process."

Mr Key said he presumed New Zealand will be represented at the Five Eyes meeting, but he did not have the specific details.

The United States Embassy has issued a short statement saying General Clapper was on a "routine visit to meet with senior officials to discuss a wide range of issues important to both countries".

It went on to say the relationship between the United States and New Zealand had never been stronger and that the U.S welcomed "the opportunity to work closely to safeguard our mutual national security interests".

"As a matter of long standing policy, we do not discuss the specifics of intelligence matters."

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